Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research ®

A Publication of The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons ®

Is Needle Biopsy Clinically Useful in Preoperative Grading of Central Chondrosarcoma of the Pelvis and Long Bones?

Pablo D. Roitman MD, Germán L. Farfalli MD, Miguel A. Ayerza MD, D. Luis Múscolo MD, Federico E. Milano MSC, Luis A. Aponte-Tinao MD

Abstract

Background

Central chondrosarcoma of bone is graded on a scale of 1 to 3 according to histological criteria. Clinically, these tumors can be divided into low-grade (Grade 1) and high-grade (Grade 2, Grade 3, and dedifferentiated) chondrosarcomas. Although en bloc resection has been the most widely used treatment, it has become generally accepted that in selected patients with low-grade chondrosarcomas of long bones, curettage is safe and effective. This approach requires an accurate preoperative estimation of grade to avoid under- or overtreatment, but prior reports have indicated that both imaging and biopsy do not always give an accurate prediction of grade.

Questions/purposes

(1) What is the concordance of image-guided needle preoperative biopsy and postoperative grading in central (intramedullary) chondrosarcomas of long bones, and how does this compare with the concordance of image-guided needle preoperative biopsy and postoperative grading in central pelvic chondrosarcomas? (2) What is the concordance of preoperative image-guided needle biopsy and postoperative findings in differentiating low-grade from high-grade central chondrosarcomas of long bones, and how does this compare with the concordance in central pelvic chondrosarcomas?

Methods

Between 1997 and 2014, in our institution, we treated 126 patients for central chondrosarcomas located in long bones and the pelvis. Of these 126 cases, 41 were located in the pelvis and the remaining 85 cases were located in long bones. This study considers 39 (95%) and 40 (47%) of them, respectively. We included all cases in which histological information was complete regarding preoperative and postoperative tumor grading. We excluded all cases with incomplete data sets or nondiagnostic preoperative biopsies. To evaluate the needle biopsy accuracy, we compared the histological tumor grade, obtained from the preoperative biopsy, with the final histological grade obtained from the postoperative surgical specimen. The weighted and nonweighted kappa statistics were used to evaluate the agreement.

Results

Concordance between the preoperative biopsy and the final pathological analysis in terms of histological grade was much higher in long-bone chondrosarcoma than in pelvic chondrosarcoma (83% [33 of 40] versus 36% [14 of 39]; odds ratio, 8, 48). Likewise, the weighted kappa coefficients were higher in long-bone chondrosarcoma than in pelvic chondrosarcoma for the determination of histological grade (0.63; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.34–0.91 versus 0.12; -0.32 to 0.57; p < 0.001). When categorizing the lesions as low grade or high grade, concordance between the preoperative biopsy and the final pathological analysis was much higher in long-bone chondrosarcoma than in pelvic chondrosarcoma (90% [36 of 40] versus 67% [26 of 39]; odds ratio, 4, 5). Likewise, the weighted kappa coefficients were higher in long-bone chondrosarcoma than in pelvic chondrosarcoma (0.73; 95% CI, 0.51–0.94 versus 0.26; 0.04–0.48; p < 0.001).

Conclusions

Image-guided needle biopsy, when performed by a specialist radiologist and evaluated by an experienced bone pathologist, is a useful tool in determining the histological grade of long-bone chondrosarcomas allowing identification of true low-grade tumors. The histological grade should be correlated with imaging and the clinical presentation, but under these circumstances, experienced tumor surgeons may use this information in planning surgical treatment. The same appears not to be true for pelvic lesions, in which histological grade established by needle biopsy should be interpreted with caution.

Level of Evidence

Level III, diagnostic study.

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